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UN Special Representative Says No Neighbor Should Treat Iraq as its Backyard

UN Special Representative Says No Neighbor Should Treat Iraq as its Backyard

Thursday, 6 October, 2022 - 07:15
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (UNAMI)

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, has called on Iraqi leaders to "engage in dialogue," emphasizing the importance of embarking on a path towards political stability.

Plasschaert stressed on Tuesday that "public disillusion is running sky-high," noting that "no neighbor should treat Iraq as its backyard."

Speaking at a Security Council session, the official said that since the elections last October, there have been many calls for Iraqi leaders to overcome their differences and form a government.

"It is in the power of any Iraqi leader to drag the country into a protracted and deadly conflict, as it is in their power to place the national interest first and lift the country out of this crisis," she said.

She warned that "actors across the spectrum failed to place the national interest first. They left the country in a prolonged impasse, fueling already simmering anger.

"Meanwhile, the ordinary Iraqi citizen was being held hostage to an unpredictable and untenable situation."

She stressed that "with risks of further strife and bloodshed still very tangible, dwelling on who did what when is no longer an option."

"We brought our full support to the National Dialogue under the auspices of Iraq's Prime Minister [Mustafa Kadhimi]," said Plasschaert, adding that the forum convened twice, and for this initiative to bear fruit, all parties must take their seat.

"There are solutions," Plasschaert said, noting that it all comes down to political will. She asserted that all leaders should assume responsibility and "return the spotlight where it must be: on the people of Iraq."

"I raised the alarm at Turkish and Iranian shelling in the North having become the "new normal" for Iraq," said the UN official, adding that these reckless acts, which have devastating consequences, killing and injuring people, must cease.

Meanwhile, the Deputy US Representative to the UN, Richard Mills, "strongly" condemned the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missile and drone attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan Region on September 28 in a "major escalation of Iranian violations of Iraqi sovereignty."

Mills said, "Such a brazen attack on a neighbor's territory, especially one that results in the deaths of innocent civilians, is morally reprehensible."

Although the elections were credible, peaceful, and well-managed, said Mills, the "elected parliamentarians and their party leaders have failed to form a government that serves the people of Iraq."

He urged Iraq's elected leaders to "shoulder their responsibilities, make compromises, avoid violence, and form an inclusive government capable of delivering transparent, effective governance."

Also at the session, Iraq's UN Representative, Mohammad Bahr al-Uloom, said that the Turkish and Iranian violation of Iraq's lands and airspace are continuing under pretenses.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned Iran's ambassador and handed him a "strongly worded" letter containing the government's condemnation of this heinous crime.

He pointed out that the political process in his country witnessed a stalemate that led to delaying the formation of the new cabinet, noting that all parties and political blocs were aware of this, which led to a constructive dialogue to reach solutions to the political impasse.

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